In September 2023, the Victorian Government announced reforms to the Victorian Planning System, aiming to “boost housing supply across the state” and make it easier for builders and buyers to navigate the planning system. See here.
The Victorian House Planning System is working towards an efficient, transparent and accountable system that hopes to bring transparency to the planning system and legislation, ultimately delivering more homes to market sooner.
Granny flats and small second homes provide a great alternative for people wishing to have an additional dwelling on their property.
“On 14 December 2023, Amendment VC253 made changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes, and the Building Amendment (Small Second Dwellings) Regulations 2023 made changes to the Building Regulations 2018 to coordinate the approval processes to build a small second home.” – Planning.vic.gov
This means that no planning permit is required for small second homes of 60 square metres or less, on a lot that is 300 square metres or greater. This is provided there are no flooding, environmental or other special planning controls in place.
Keep in mind a building permit will still be required to “meet siting, amenity, design and safety requirements – and cannot be subdivided or separately sold off from the main home.”
These reforms and more permit exemptions being introduced, having a small second home or a Granny flat is becoming a more viable and feasible option. These reforms have brought a big overhaul to historical legislation, meaning that you no longer have to apply for a permit to build a granny flat. These reforms hope to help clear the backlog of pending applications, lower red tape, increase housing capacity in ‘activity centres’, and provide more certainty around planning and permit issuing.
See the updated Planning and Building framework here.
A Granny flat is a small, self-contained unit used as second dwelling typically sharing a property with a main house. Granny flats are becoming a practical and worthwhile option for many people and families wishing to provide additional living spaces for family members. They are designed to be considerably smaller, with the maximum ground area being 60 square metres amongst most councils. Further requirements include a minimum property size of 450 square metres, the granny flat having its own entrance, it being self-contained (kitchen, living area, bath or shower and toilet) and being a moveable building. Commonly used interchangeably with the term granny flat, secondary dwellings are permanent structures that require different permits and have separate criteria and requirements that set them apart.
Granny flats are proving to be a popular option for landowners and have the ability to customise living arrangements to suit individual needs, add value to a property and are a great long-term investment. They are a great option for elderly family and adult children to be in close proximity who are seeking independence, privacy and support and looking to save on costs. In addition to providing an avenue for a second income, they offer a great break-out space as a retreat for kids or a recreation room, only increasing the value potential of a property. With rising living costs, granny flats are a great all rounder offering all the amenities that a traditional home would offer – just on a smaller scale.